At seventy, he avoids any brush with derision
by nearing death after the first printing of his book.
Who would believe him anyway?
If the Earth spun on its axis, sped round Helios—
the astounding new center of the Universe—
then a ball tossed into the air would not fall
back into one’s hands, but land hundreds of feet away.
Birds in flight might lose the way to their nests.
All humanity suffer dizzy spells from the relentless spinning
of this global carousel. Scorn, excommunication,
perhaps fire awaited such a man. The world is
as it seems,they would say—
not as a rogue canon from the Polish cathedral
of Frombork pretends with too much time on
his catholic hands. Still, it seemed inevitable,
the truth of it—worked out in his lonely outpost,
observing the planets with only his naked eye
and mathematics (that other sacred text). Reading,
thinking, calculating, with no other evidence yet
possible. But he knew, as sure as he believed
that though the world is mystery, it is also knowable.
If only he could tell why the ball still falls back
into his hand, why the birds unerringly return home,
why the dizziness he feels comes only now,
slipping from the body’s orbit where
neither telescope nor eye may follow.
Dane Cervine’s latest book is entitled How Therapists Dance, from Plain View Press, which also published his previous book The Jeweled Net of Indra. His poems have been chosen by Adrienne Rich for a National Writers Union Award and by Tony Hoagland as a finalist for the Wabash Poetry Prize. In addition, he was awarded a Second Place prize for the Caesura Poetry contest and was the 2013 winner of the Atlanta Review’s International Poetry Prize. His work has appeared in a wide variety of journals, including The Hudson Review, The SUN Magazine, and TriQuarterly. Visit his website at: www.DaneCervine.typepad.com.